Conference Leadership

Andre West, PhD

Director, Zeis Textile Extension

Andre West’s main role is the Director of Zeis Textiles Extention. ZTE mission is to serve a diverse customer base to advance economic development through collaborative partnerships and outreach, innovative textile and quality improvement education, and comprehensive textile prototyping and testing services.

Melissa Sharp

Associate Director, Zeis Textile Extension

Melissa Sharp is the associate director for Zeis Textiles Extension (ZTE), and her role focuses on developing partnerships with trade organizations, government agencies and the textile industry at large. Melissa is also a graduate student in the textile chemistry program researching enzymatic hydrolysis of biopolyesters.

Melissa Sharp

Rachel Raineri

Conference Secretariat, Zeis Textile Extension

Rachel is an M.S. student in Textile Engineering at Wilson College as well as the President of the Textile Association of Graduate Students. In her studies, she is focusing on sustainability and biomimicry in textiles. Her role as a Research Assistant for Zeis Textile Extension is to serve as sustainability liaison and as the Evolving Textiles Conference Secretariat.

Lokendra Pal, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Forest Biomaterials 

Dr. Lokendra Pal is an Associate Professor in the Department of Forest Biomaterials at North Carolina State University. Dr. Pal’s research group is focused on developing sustainable and functional bioproducts, delivering top-class hygiene, smart packaging, and flexible electronics/3D printable materials and products that benefit society as well as the environment.

David Suchoff, PhD

Alternative Crops Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor

David Suchoff is the Alternative Crops Assistant Professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at NC State. He leads a dynamic and innovative research and extension program that seeks to address real-world challenges faced by our farming community.

Karen Leonas, PhD

Wilson College Sustainability Committee Co-Chair

Dr. Karen K. Leonas, Professor of Textile Sciences, in the Department of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management. Dr. Leonas teaches a variety of classes including an introductory class, The Textile Industry, and graduate courses in Sustainability and Textile Technology Management.

Janie Woodbridge

Wilson College Sustainability Committee Co-Chair

Janie Woodbridge is an Assistant Professor of Textile Design at the Wilson College of Textiles at NC State University. After over a decade of working as a woven designer in the textile industry, she shifted her focus to textile design education and creative research. Her research program is in the area of novel yarns and their roles in woven fabric structure. Her interest in sustainability focuses on alternative fibers and sustainable design innovation.